If you’re looking for an out-of-this world, dreamlike experience, you really should consider a cruise. It’s an experience not be forgotten – gosh, you may never take any other type of
holiday again. If you’re a first-timer, you may not be quite sure what to expect as you mount the gangplank to embark. However, once you’ve recovered from the sheer size – it
could be equal to 100 rugby fields – get ready to set sail on what some might say is, quite literally, a children’s (and adults’) playground – slides and all!
First things first … time to freshen up and unpack before dinner. The ocean view stateroom with a balcony comes highly recommended. With fresh white linen and pops of blue and the sound of the ocean breezing through the balcony door … it’s all anyone really needs to be content. Oh, and the bathrooms were perfectly sized… no bumping heads on shower nozzles, and mirrors totally large enough so you can see more than just your face. There are plenty of other kinds of accommodation available, depending on what you desire, including the Ultimate Family Suite – new to the Royal Caribbean fleet. Perfect for kids, it has everything from table tennis to a Lego wall. Yes, please, mummy!
Food … obviously, this is a hugely important part of any cruise. There’s something for everyone … from the restaurant, Hooked, that serves the freshest of fresh seafood, to Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade (think a typical bar – ribs, burgers, beer, all with sport on the big screen!). There’s even a restaurant called Wonderland, themed after Alice in Wonderland. The imaginative dishes are, quite literally, like something you only ever thought possible down that magical rabbit hole. The smoking OTT cocktails served are straight from the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Feel like something on the simpler side? There are loads of spots that serve things like hot dogs, pizza slices or even burritos. The main dining room is very stately and lush … its circular porthole windows are perfect for gazing out onto the ocean while sipping a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. The options appear to be endless. Goodness – there’s even a Jamie’s Italian! Mamma mia!
One word we truly doubt is often uttered on the Symphony of the Seas is – boredom! From zip lining across the whole ship to mini golf to the Flowrider surf simulators (yes, you can surf on board the ship!), one actually doesn’t know what to choose first. And that’s just the beginning. There are many, many different pools and jacuzzis, depending on what you’re in the mood for. If the kids are in tow, the children’s water play area is such a treat, and the waterslides add that extra tot of fun. The Ultimate Abyss, which is the longest slide at sea, is definitely the show-stopper. With all that adrenalin flowing, once you’ve reached the bottom pop into Sugarbeach ice cream and candy bar. The huge variety of treats is sure to give you another (sugar) rush! Have a go on the carousel outside the shop while licking an ice cream from the cracking choice of flavours – you’ll feel like a kid at a theme park. Satisfaction 99.9 per cent guaranteed.
Come sundown, it’s time for the nightlife! After dinner, be sure to catch a live show – there’s a different line-up every night. You can even try your luck with a bit of gambling in the impressive casino. Yes, of course there’s a casino! Oh, and you simply have to check out the Bionic Bar where a robot actually makes your drinks! You heard right – you tell a robot your order and Bob’s your uncle, there it is, a mojito just as you requested. Also a winner … the Rising Tide Bar which is a floating bar that moves up and down the ship while you sip and admire this astonishing ocean-going palace. And of course, as you’ve gathered, this is not the end … there are at least four other bars, plus a karaoke bar. And get this – the Lazertag studio (yup, there’s also laser tag aboard) turns into a nightclub where you can boogie the night away. Just don’t oversleep and miss breakfast – the buffet at the Windjammer restaurant is plate-loaded-to-the-brim delish. You can seriously eat your weight in bacon (we tried, we really did!).
You may well be dragged off kicking and screaming when it’s time to disembark and wave goodbye to your adventure in the middle of the ocean. It certainly left us feeling as if we’d slid down a giant happy slide only to land back (sadly) into reality. One thing’s for sure – it can be said with some certainty you could easily become a cruiser for life.
There are loads of cruises to choose from… Alaskan, Caribbean, Asian and more. We suggest the Mediterranean cruise from Spain. Think seven nights’ cruising from Barcelona past Mallorca, Marseilles and Naples … bliss! This costs from around R16 920, but changes from season to season.
Visit the website for amazing specials. For more details give Cruises International a call
on 011-327-0327 or visit www.cruises.co.za